When we first met Congressional candidate Bill Keating, his long-winded answers did not always directly address the questions, he was a bit hesitant and he was not fully informed about Cape and Islands issues.
What a difference two years make.
In that time, Keating has demonstrated significant growth in his knowledge of Cape issues, and he has proven dedicated to the most significant problems facing the region. He has concentrated on bringing money to important undertakings, from housing initiatives and other human service needs, to capital improvements at Barnstable and Nantucket airports, Cape fire departments and the Coast Guard's Menemsha station and Air Station Cape Cod.
For these and other reasons, we recommend Congressman Keating over Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter in the Democratic primary Sept. 6 in the new 9th Congressional District.
Sutter's a strong candidate, but we did not see significant differences in positions between the Democrats to recommend a change so early in Keating's tenure.
In his first two years in office, Keating reached across the aisle to repeal a controversial element of health care reform that hurt small businesses. He was also able to gain bipartisan support -- no small feat in this deeply divided Congress -- on a few bills, most of which went nowhere because of his freshman status. For instance, his first piece of legislation, the "Strengthen Fisheries Management in New England Act," would require that penalties collected from New England fishermen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration be used to improve the management of New England fisheries.
In addition, Keating helped secure millions in federal funding for the region, including:
$2.7 million to build 50 new rental housing units for individuals and families in Provincetown;
$900,000 in community development block grants for Bourne;
$700,000 to Outer Cape Health Services to fund a new wing on the Provincetown community health center and to modernize the Provincetown and Wellfleet community health centers.
In response to legislation that would cut $4 billion from domestic spending programs, Keating led the charge to end subsidies to Big Oil. Each year, Big Oil receives $4.3 billion in government subsidies. "Over 10 years, that $43 billion should have been the easiest thing on the table to help cut the national debt," Keating said in an interview with the Times' editorial board.
Moreover, there are big local issues on the horizon -- notably, the funding for a solution to the Cape's wastewater woes and a growing need for transportation infrastructure improvements -- and it will take leadership at the federal level to help ease the burden on local taxpayers. We believe Keating will provide that leadership more than his challenger in the primary.
As a result, we recommend Keating over Sutter in the Democratic primary in the new 9th Congressional District.